Golf World Magazine have done it again, come up with about the most pointless ranking list in the business today. This time it’s of the Top 100 golf courses on the European mainland (2011), and as we’ve come to expect from this magazine the list is littered with surprise and controversy. France has done particularly well at the top of the Top 100, with the immaculate Les Bordes course outpointing the imperious Morfontaine for the No. 1 spot. A few places down, and Ryder Cup 2018 venue Le Golf National comes in at No. 5, an outrageously high position for a course with so few redeeming features. Rounding out the Top Five are Royal Hague in Holland, which jumped more than 15 places to No. 3 and the charming Royal Zoute links at No. 4, both of whom have improved over the past few years but do seem to have been generously ranked.
Other oddities in the list include the high finish given to the likes of PGA Catalunya (8) and Bro Hof Slott (10), and the seemingly harsh treatment dished out to quality layouts such as Oitavos Dunes (20), De Pan (35), Golf du Medoc (59) and Hardelot Les Pins (95).
Perhaps the biggest loser though is Kyle Phillips, whose fine Eichenheim course in Austria was omitted from the list and whose new 36-hole Verdura development in Italy only placed at No. 62, and that was for the East Course, the West Course missed out altogether. Gary Player Design must surely be disappointed with the debut of Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria as well, which looks on an incredible site but ‘only’ finished at No, 65 on the list.
Given the number of new layouts placed above these courses, it seems clear that the golfing landscape in Europe has changed considerably over the past few years and we look forward to returning and checking out some of these high-placed debutants in the coming months. If nothing else, the Golf World Top 100 has inspired further travel and at least given us a starting point to work off.